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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

36,000 T-Mobile Phones Pull A Houdini

January 23rd, 2008 by iDunzo

Over the weekend some less-than-legal entrepreneurs raided a warehouse where T-Mobile stores some of its mobile phones.

According to T-Mobile, the bandits made off with about $8.2 million worth of Sidekick messaging devices. T-Mobile is pursuing the thieves aggressively.

T-Mobile issued an internal memo to let employees in its sales channels know about the theft. This is what it says:

Wanted to let you all know that one of our warehouses was broken into over the weekend and some 36,000 phones were stolen (worth about 8.2 Million). The most significant phones stolen were the Sidekick phones. Please make sure you inform the dealers who like to purchase gray market handsets that we are aggressively working with law enforcement to prosecute anyone who has these handsets. We do know the IMEI’s of the stolen phones and once they end up on our network we will go to the dealer code that activated the phone. So if your dealers get a call about Sidekicks and the deal is too good to be true you will know why.

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is essentially a code that is unique to each and every GSM-based handset.

As with other serial numbers, it is printed inside the phone, usually under the battery. It is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices.

Since T-Mobile has the IMEI’s of the stolen devices in hand, it can use the numbers to find out if the stolen phones are activated on its network.

Once they are, it can use the IMEI to ban the phones from accessing the network, making them paperweights.

Even if someone purchases the stolen handsets from an authorized dealer, they can be out of luck if the dealer sells gray market or stolen phones.

The Sidekick devices are popular phones, so it’s no surprise that they were targeted in the raid. Hopefully T-Mobile will be able to recover its stolen property and prosecute the criminals.

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Sony’s Sudden Outbreak Of Common Sense

January 11th, 2008 by iDunzo

Wow, that didn’t take long. Barely days after Sony’s announcement about its peculiar plan to sell unprotected MP3s through a brick-and-mortar-store gift card system, it’s relented and announced that it will begin selling portions of its music catalog as unprotected MP3s through — who else? Amazon.com.

Good! I guess the generally negative press and a big fat thumbs down from consumers in general had something to do with it. Or, maybe — maybe — it had at least provisionally planned to do something like this for a while and was just seeing what it could get away with first.

Either way, this is something of a milestone: Every single major record label in the United States is now delivering at least some of their catalog through a digital download system with no device restrictions at all.

Even a couple of years ago that would have been unthinkable, but I suspect it’s about the only way left to fly at this point. The reasons are pretty plain: Read the rest of this entry »

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Lightning Victim News Tape Mess Up

November 17th, 2007 by iDunzo

During a report on the recovery of a woman recently struck by lightning, the tape begins to skip as she talks.

I love hour the news anchor can barely hold it together. This couldn’t be more perfect if you planned it. Yay technical difficulties with video equipment.

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USA Today Cuts 45 Jobs, Unwired Employees to go First

November 16th, 2007 by iDunzo

USA Today LogoNewsroom layoffs have become increasingly common as the newspaper industry learns to cope with its online adolescence. What’s sobering is that even USA Today, currently the most read paper in the U.S., is going through the same process despite its continued success.

Gannett’s stalwart publication has announced that it will be cutting 45 newsroom positions, amounting to roughly nine percent of its editorial staff.

After holding a staff meeting to break the news, editor Ken Paulson sent out the following memo:

It’s unfortunate that we have to take these steps, particularly when our newspaper circulation is growing and USATODAY.com has been named the top news website in the country by the Online News Association. Unfortunately, revenue has not kept pace and we’re now facing the same cutbacks that so many other news organizations have already experienced.

Here’s where it gets interesting, though. Later on in the memo Paulson reveals that there’s a specific criteria in place the types of employees they’d like to cut:

The job eliminations will be done on a voluntary basis in the form of buyouts for staffers with 15 years or more of Gannett experience and less than five years of online experience. Departments will exclude certain key positions based on strategic needs in 2008. We hope to achieve all job reductions through voluntary buyouts, but job eliminations are possible if we don’t have enough applicants.

Vaguely mentioning “online experience” as a factor just seems odd. It will be interesting to see how this story flushes out over the coming days.

Source: Poynter Online

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EU Rolls Out the Hate on Google, DoubleClick

November 14th, 2007 by iDunzo

Leave it to the European Commission to ruin a good party.

On Tuesday, the antitrust arm of the European Commission nixed approval on Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, citing competitive concerns.

The EU also ordered an in-depth review into the acquisition.

The scale of the deal certainly raises eyebrows — $3.1 billion isn’t chopped liver — but by most estimates, Google grossly overpaid for the company.

DoubleClick’s annual revenue — which reportedly falls short of $200 million — hardly puts a dent in the overall Web ad market, which is estimated to be worth anywhere from $17 billion to $20 billion.

The bigger question is this: Why didn’t the European Commission pick on Yahoo for its $680 million purchase of RightMedia in July 2007?

And what about Microsoft’s $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive in August of this year?

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Comcast Traffic Filtering Could Lead To Legal Showdown

October 23rd, 2007 by iDunzo

Comcast continues its double speak and carefully crafted workings regarding the company’s policy of throttling BitTorrent traffic, but already the lawyers are beginning to circle and Comcast could face lawsuits in the very near future.

CNet’s Chris Soghoian reports that because Comcast’s filtering technique uses forged TCP reset packets to disrupt traffic it is essentially impersonating its customers.

The forged headers allow Comcast to say it doesn’t block traffic — it doesn’t, the traffic continues to flow, it just gets altered into forged packets that constantly reset the peer connections.

But forging headers is hardly the “cutting edge technology,” Comcast claims it is and it may well be illegal. Assuming your identity and forging packets is roughly the same thing your friendly Nigerian e-mail scammer does to infiltrate your e-mail inbox.

As Soghoian points out, were Comcast to do to e-mail traffic what they do to BitTorrent traffic, they would be in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act and libel for fines and jail time.

So why can they get away with doing it to BitTorrent, Gnutella and Lotus traffic?

The answer is simply that no one has challenged them yet, perhaps they can get away with it, perhaps they can’t, but we won’t know until someone brings a suit against Comcast.

Many states have laws already on the books that make impersonating someone an crime, especially when the impersonation is intended to benefit the person doing the impersonating.

In this case, because Comcast stands to gain from filtering BitTorrent traffic — less strain on the network and BitTorrent is increasingly being used to deliver movies (legally), which makes it a Comcast competitor — the company may soon find itself a sitting duck for consumer lawsuits.

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